About last night … Canadiens bury Flyers

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) is congratulated by teammates Mike Reilly (28) and Max Domi (13) after his third goal of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal’s Bell Centre on Thursday February 21, 2019. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette

On to TO.

Saturday’s game at whatever the Leafs are calling their home rink these days should be a beauty.

Coming off four losses and facing a road-heavy schedule, the Canadiens played two solid home games this week, grabbing badly needed points against Columbus and, on Thursday night, Philadelphia.

The home team scored five times in the game’s first 27 minutes and just annihilated the visiting Flyers.

Brendan Gallagher got the first of his three goals before the game was a minute old, and the Canadiens never looked back.

It was, among other things, a night of milestones:

• Gallagher got his first career hat trick in his 467th NHL game. He has more even-strength goals this season than Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby

• Phillip Danault, back from paternity leave, was 12-7 on face-offs and assisted on that early Gallagher goal, giving the 21st Century Guy Carbonneau a career-high 41 points – with 21 games to play.

• Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored his 11th Bell Centre goal.

They weren’t the only stars.

With the exception of Antti Niemi, every player in a red jersey played a solid hockey game. There were 10 names on the scoresheet, and the eight who didn’t pick up points were equally proficient.

As they prepare for a tough schedule stretch, the Canadiens are sitting reasonably pretty. They hold the top Wildcard spot, three points ahead of Carolina and four up on Columbus.

The sked is about to get really tough: Four straight and seven of the next eight on the road, including a California swing that has been Death Valley for the Canadiens in recent seasons.

Nothing’s in the bag, but the Canadiens are looking well equipped to be playing hockey in late April.

During the coach’s press conference, telecast during L’Antichambre, Eric Engels of Sportsnet asked Claude Julien how a team with a hopeless power play – my words, not Engels’ – has scored at least five goals 15 times this season.

“We’re playing fast,” Julien replied. “When you play fast, there’s nothing harder to defend than when you’re facing speed coming at you.”

Julien also lauded his players “coming back hard” and playing a tenacious 200-foot game that frustrates opponents.

Exhibit A: Jonathan Drouin was held off the scoresheet. But looking increasingly adept on a line with Max Domi and Andrew Shaw, Drouin had two hits and was plus-2.

Exhibit B: Brett Kulak played 17 minutes, picked up an assist and was plus-3.

Exhibit C: The new fourth line – Nate Thompson, Matthew Peca and Artturi Lehkonen – played double-digit minutes.

Oh, and let’s not overlook this stat, posted on the Liveblog by jovogonch:

Canadiens with Paul Byron in the lineup: 24-11-3

Without Byron: 9-10-4.

Number 41 will be dressed in Toronto on Saturday.

Источник: Montrealgazette.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life


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